The Paw Print

Cross Country: Racing at Rim Rock

Sophomore Ryan Knernschield maintains a steady pace in the early portion of the race.

Hannah Peterson, Print Editor

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Sun glared on the line of cars stretching nearly two miles from the opening gate to Rim Rock Farms, where the cross country team raced on Sept. 24.

“We had been waiting in the line for about an hour, and our race was going to start in 30 minutes, and we all had to go to the bathroom so bad,” senior Maya Mastin said. “Coach [Lisa Cowen] decided that we wouldn’t make it in time if we kept waiting. So the girls, whose race was first, ran with Coach Conkling about a mile into where the race started. Along the way, people in their cars were honking and cheering for us. When we got to the race we had 20 minutes to get ready, but it was nice to have a warm up run out of the way already.”

Rim Rock is the home location for the University of Kansas’ cross country meets. The course for high school teams is approximately 3.1 miles long, and features open field and wooded areas, and is distinguished by its covered bridge as part of the course. The course also includes a higher number of hills than typical high school cross country locations. The meet is considered one of the largest, with teams of both boys and girls JV and Varsity, from 1A schools to 6A.

“This meet had a ton of people. So it kind of took the weight off my shoulders a bit, because you’re not as pressured,” sophomore Emma Wheeler said. “There were also lots of hills that made it challenging.”

Despite difficulties, including several players that experienced sickness and heat exhaustion, the boys varsity team finished eighth overall.

“We faced good competition from our region and we showed them that we are a force to be reckoned with this season,”  senior Luke Rovenstine said. “I believe our team is looking very promising for this year, as it showed Saturday out at Rim Rock, an excruciatingly painful and challenging course. Every guy went out and ran their hardest and that’s why we are different from the rest of our competition. We’re a family and we all have the same desire to win. It looks like we have a chance to do well in State this year. I’m very excited.”

The team not only finished placed highly overall, but many individual runners achieved personal records.

“I think for a team as a whole the meet went pretty well, a lot of the girls really stepped up and got PR’s [personal record],” sophomore Carly Connealy said.

The team is optimistic for their future meets, with Regionals taking place on Oct. 22.

“The boys are doing great and are looking good for state, but I really feel like this is the girls year to make it to State,” Mastin said. “We have been working hard and keep improving. Maranatha and Olpe are our biggest competition at Regionals, and Olpe moved down to 1A this year and Maranatha lost a lot of great senior runners, so our chances are looking better than years passed. Last year we placed fifth at Regionals, and I really think that if we keep working hard we can get top three and qualify for State.”

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Cross Country: Racing at Rim Rock